Friday, September 30, 2011

Math & Spelling

Am I completely crazy for absolutely loving the $6 Barnes & Noble math and spelling workbooks from Flash Kids?  I keep trying other programs and workbooks but always end up coming back to these.  The 5th grade math book is just for review and to make sure W knows what's what before moving on to TT7.  We plan on zipping through it quickly.  It's touches on everything without being tedious and annoying.  This week we took a short break from the workbook to really nail down W's multiplication and division skills.  I really believe it's important to have these memorized.  It makes the higher math easier.  So, Times Tales was first, and then we spent 2 more days going over the problems in the book - several times over.  W loves playing a speed game with facts.  He loved it when learning to read (the sight-word flash cards were a huge hit) and he still loves it.  By Wednesday I started using multiplication flash cards and doing the speed game with those.  It has everything from the 0 to the 12 times tables.  Yesterday it took exactly 11 minutes to reel off the correct answers to all the cards.  I'd like to spend more time on this next week as well, focusing more on the division end of it.

The spelling book has been a true Godsend.  The word lists and activities have helped him so much with his reading and writing.  There's a nice list of 20 words (all related in some way, either by sound, spelling, or other similarity), fill-in-the-blank-type questions (definitions, antonyms, rhymes, analogies, etc), proofreading paragraphs, and grammar lessons all in one chapter.  It's enjoyable and we spend about 3 days on one chapter.  Listening to W read aloud now, it's hard to tell he's dyslexic.  He's come so far.  One of the issues has been that every word to him is a sight word and it he memorizes them in order for his reading to flow.  Phonics and sounding-out plays a minuscule part.  That's why the Dick and Jane (and Dr Seuss, and Fly Guy) books were great since they repeated words over and over.  Hey, whatever works for him.  And it does seem to be working!

Other stuff this week included reading/narrating Paul Bunyan (from American Tall Tales), some Science Lab in a Supermarket, a chapter about John Cabot sailing to North America a few years after Columbus (in This Country of Ours), and some more Marco Polo with mapwork.  CCD and Scouts also started up for the year.

K has been busy with work and college - both are going great.  J is doing very well in school, hobnobbing with various celebrities, and just enjoying every minute.  At dance, she's gearing up for a new competition season.  Most of her group are at the top of their age category this year, so a lot is expected from them.  She has a bunch of workshops, master classes, and conventions on the schedule, too - starting next month.  I'm looking forward to a great year.


Colleen said...

I have to agree with you. I like the cheaper workbooks most of the time. We started with dollar store ones and really liked the Active Minds ones at Barnes and noble. They have been bargain priced for the last 5 years at least. My daughter's still in second grade, but I will have to check out the flash kids. Thanks!

NYCitymomx3 said...

Yep, nothing wrong with them at all. We use Flash Kids Math 5 and Spelling Skills 4, 5, and 6 - both from Harcourt Publishing - if you'd like to check them out. :)